Skip to main content

Full text of "Crypto-Jews in the Canaries : a paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England ..."

See other formats




Read before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 
in the Mocatta Library, University College, 

DECEMBER 12, 1910, 






President of the Society. 

Beprinteil from TBB JKVVISU WORLD by OKAS. Siiivuijt A.XD SONS, LTD., 
Bisliopsgate Avenue, Camomile Street, London, E.G. 




Some twenty years ago, while investigating the circumstances 
of the re-settlement of the Jews in this country under the 
Protectorate, I was struck by the curious fact that tht chief 
figure in that movement, Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, and 
several of his fellow adventurers, hailed from a little archi- 
pelago in the East Atlantic, which had never before figured 
in Jewish history, and which, so far as I know, has not even 
yet iound a place in that record. Carvajal had considerable 
property in the Canaries, and seems to have spent his early 
life at Santa Cruz. Duarte Henriques Alvares had been Royal 
Treasurer in the islands, and his nephew, Antonio Rodriguee 
Robles, whose sensational denunciation as a Spaniard on the 
outbreak of the Spanish war in 1656 first revealed the existence 
of the London Marrano community, and successfully established 
its rights of residence, had been his Deputy-Treasurer. There 
was also reason to believe that CarvajaFs brother-in-law, Simon 
de Souza, and other relatives and co-religionists of his who 
had joined him in England, notably Domingo de la Cerda 
and Antonio de Porto, were Canariote immigrants. With a 
view to throwing further light on tihe personal hisfoories of 
these men, and on the circumstances which determined their 
eventful migration, I planned a visit to Teneriffe in the autumn 
of 1894. By a fortunate accident I confided my project to 
the late Marquis of Bate, and was thus spared a bootless 
journey. Some years earlier Lord Bute had acquired the larger 
part of the original records of the Canariote Inquisition, of 
which a general calendar, dealing chiefly with Protestant 
and sorcery cases, has since been printed under the editorship 
of Dr. de Gray Birch. These valuable documents he was good 
enough to place at my disposal. Since then I have had them 
carefully examined, and I am glad to be able to tell you that 


( 2 ) 

a calendar of all the Jewish cases figuring in them has now 
been completed, and that one of my chief tasks in the office to 
which you have been good enough to re-elect me in this society 
will be to edit and publish this extremely valuable contribu- 
tion to Jewish history 

I propose to-night to give you a brief account of the hitherto 
unknown history of our co-religionists in the Canaries as re- 
vealed by these documents, reserving a more detailed study 
for the introduction it will be my duty and privilege to supply 
to the calendar in its published form. 


Amador de los Rios in his " Historia de los Judios en Espana " 
mentions the "islands of the Oceanic Archipelagos" as having 
afforded a refuge to some of the Jewish victims of the great 
Iberian expulsion of 1492. That the Canaries were comprised 
in this vague generalisation is shown by the local historians, 
Viera y Clavigo and Del Castillo, who expressly state that the 
establishment of the Inquisition in those islands in 1504 was 
due to the large number of Jewish outcasts from Spain who 
had found an asylum there. From the Inquisition documents 
themselves, however, we obtain more than one glimpse of a 
community of Spanish Jews which had existed in the islands 
before the Expulsion. According to a deposition made by an aged 
female in 1525 a family named Beltran lived openly as Jews 
in Teneriffe as early as 1485, although the island was not 
finally conquered! by the Spaniards until ten years later. In 
1574 a record was discovered by the Inquisition stating that 
a "Jewish heretic," named Rodrigo de Leon, was prosecuted 
and "reconciled" by the ecclesiastical authorities at Los 
Santos in 1490. A deposition made before the Headquarters of 
the Holy Office in Seville and transmitted to the Canariote 
Inquisitors in 1520 shows that there was an early community 
in one of the islands the name is not given duly equipped 
with a synagogue, a Jewish butcher shop, and a Schochet 
("matador de la carne de los Judios"), aiamed Rabbi David, 
and that .there was a brisk business in "carne ca&ser" or 
" kosher " meat. Jewish funerals are also mentioned. For some 
years after the expulsion from Spain this community led a 
normal life, and the Jewish refugees seem to have remained 
unmolested. In 1499, however, the Bishop Diego de Muros, 
acting as an "Ordinary" or unofficial Inquisitor, set up an 
enquiry into heresy. No one seems to have been prosecuted, 
but evidence was collected establishing the existence of a 
considerable number of Marranos in the islands, and of at 
least one secret synagogue at San Lucar. 

( 3 ) 

The fact that no action was taken on this evidence is in- 
teresting as an early symptom of the difficulties with w'hioh 
the Inquisition had to grapple throughout its career in the 
islands. The Spanish settlers were from the outset a rough 
and motley company. Far from the centre of government, 
straddling the great maritime highways which led to the New 
Worlds of the East and West, they engaged in many prohibited 
enterprises. Very soon they were hand and glove with all the 
nondescript buccaneers and freebooters who made the Canariote 
creeks and channels a rendezvous and a refuge in their illegal 
traffic with the Spanish Main, and in their piratical forays 
against the richly laden galleons from Hindustan 
and Cathay. On this traffic the commerce and agriculture of 
the islands soon began to depend, and hence it became a 
common interest to resist the monopolist policy of the Crown, 
and more especially the desolating persecution of the Inquisi- 
tion. Probably the good Bishop found as some of his suc- 
cessors avowedly found 'that too close an enquiry into heresy 
was not calculated, to swell the Church revenues, and with 
this view the secular authorities, both royal and local, were 
perhaps in accord, more especially as it applied with equal 
cogency to their own material interests. 

Unfortunately the mischief had already been done. It was 
not long before an echo of the Bishop's discoveries reached 
the " Suprema" at Seville, over which the zealous Fiancisoo 
Diego Deza was then presiding in his capacity of Inquisitor- 
General of Andalusia. A summons to appear before the Seville 
Tribunal was in due course issued to the chief of the offenders 
on Muros's list, an influential Marrauo resident of Las Palrnas 
named Goncalo de Burgos. It appears that Burgos had been 
tried and acquitted by the Seville Court once before, and it was 
alleged against him in the Canariote depositions that he had 
boasted of having outwitted, the Inquisitors. On this occasion 
the Tribunal was again cheated of its prey, for the caravel 
on which Burgos was conveyed to Spain was wrecked off Cadiz 
in October, 1502, and Burgos was drowned. About the same 
time orders were issued by the " Suprema " to arrest another 
Marrano of Las Palmas, Luis Alvares, who was reported to 
be the Eabbi of the local secret, synagogue, but wnen the 
Alguazils appealed at his .house lie had flown. One of his 
congregants named Mayorga was, however, seized and taken to 
Cordova, where he was .Qpnvicted and burnt. Thete fiascos 
seem to have oojivinced Deza of the necessity of extending his 
net in a permanent form to the Canaries. Moreover, he was 
then smarting from the failure of his famous attempt to 
impose the Inquisition on the kingdom, of Naples in the teeth 
of the Great Captain, Gonsalvo of Cordova, and it is not 

( 4 ) 

difficult to understand that he should have been eager for 
compensations elsewhere. However that may be, in 1504 he 
eent Bartolome Lopez Tribaldos as his deputy to establish 
the Holy Tribunal at Las Palmas, and the Commission was 
duly executed. 


During the firstl twenty years of its existence the Canariote 
Office was exceedingly busy, but the results so far as dis- 
coveries and punishments were concerned, were meagre. He- 
ttween 1504 and 1510 the number of Marranos or New Christians 
denounced to Tribaldos and his familiars was only thirty-four, 
and in none of these cases were the circumstances held to warrant 
11 public Auto dn Fe. It is true that two Autos were held, 
one in 1507 and the other in 1510, but they were private, 
and the punishments inflicted belonged to the minor categories 
of "Reconciliation " and "Penitence." Nevertheless the 
evidence showed that Marranism was widely and deeply rooted 
in the Archipelago. Luis Alvams was back in Las Palmar 
and no fewer than five informers denounced him as a Jew 
and as holding Judaical meetings in his house. Similar 
evidence was given against one Luis de Niebla, whose house 
was nicknamed "the little synagogue," and another Marrano, 
Goncalo de Cordova, who was accused of maintaining a secret 
synagogue in La Laguna. No action appears to have been 
taken on these serious informations, and when in 1507 the 
Inquisitors found themselves under the necessity of doing 
something which should justify them at Seville their wrath 
fell upon a quite insignificant Portuguese Marrano named 
Juan de Ler, who, together with Ana Rodrigues, accused of 
witchcraft, was " reconciled " in the Cathedral. The Auto of 
1510 was on a slightly more ambitious scale. Four heretics, of 
whom one \\as a Mahominedan, were "reconciled " with sambmito, 
and one Jew, Juan Fernandez, was "penanced." The Jewish 
Reconciliados were Pedro Dorador, Alvaro Esteves and Beatrice 
de la Cruz, all accused of professing and teaching the Mosaic 
creed. Only one of the prisoners, Pedro Dorador, was a person 
of consequence, and his arrest for a time created a panic in 
the Marrano community. He was one of Bishop Muros's cases 
in 1499 anil he was known as a di.M-iplr of Lui Alvart>. 

The panic soon subsided acd during the next fourteen years 
very few Marranos were molested and none denounced. This 
does not seem to have been due in any way to the edifying lives 
led by the New Christians, or to a falling off in their numbers. 
In 1519 the Vicar of La Palma reported to the Bishop of 
Canary that the island was full of the so-called "converts." 
We hear of a secret synagogue in Santa Cruz and of another 

( 5 ) 

belonging to one Alvaro Goncales, a prosperous wine-grower of 
La Palma, of whom we shall hear more presently, which was 
frequented by many rich Marrano merchants. In 1520 it was 
reported that many Marranos sought to convert their slaves 
to Judaism, and one of them, Gutierree de Ocana, a wealthy 
landowner nicknamed the "King of Fuerteventura," tried to 
make the people of his island keep the Saturday Sabbath. If 
the. Inquisitors turned a blind eye ta these grave malpractices 
it! was probably because both the civil authorities and the local 
clergy feared the ruinous effects of a persecution. Quarrels 
between them were incessant, and in 1521 the Chapter even 
sent a deputation to Madrid to complain of Martin Ximenes, 
who had succeeded Tribaldos as Inquisitor. The indifference 
of the local clergy to heresy is amusingly ilhistrated by an 
incident reported to the Inquisition in 1525. Diego Frances, 
a "dog of a Jew," as the informer described him, 
was alleged to have been seen to break a figure of 
the child Jesus and throw the fragments into the 
fire. The wife of Anton de Madalena promptly com- 
plained of this act of sacrilege to Juan de Troya, the Parish 
priest. He, however, bundled her out of his house, saying: 
"Let him go to the Devil! What do you suppose I can do? 
I cannot arrest him or punish him. The time will come when 
he will pay for it." 

Although Juan de Troya, good honest man, knew it not, t'he 
spirit of prophecy was upon him when he uttered these words. 
An evil time was indeed coming, not, perha,ps, for Diego 
Frances for we hear little more of him and his Judaical 
image-breaking but for the whole heretical community lo 
which he belonged. Between 1523 and 1532 the happy Canaries 
the Fortunate Islands of the early voyagers suffered a series 
of calamities as strange as they were appalling. Plague broke 
out in Grand Canary and ravaged the whole island, and in 
its wake followed the horrors of famine. The inhabitants 
fled to Ihe neighbouring islands, where they created a panie 
which speedily took the form of religious exaltation. This 
was the opportunity for the Inquisitor Ximenes, who at last 
found a congenial public opinion to appeal to. The awful 
visitations were pictured by him as manifestations of divine 
wrath on account of the tolerance of Judaical and Mahommedan 
backsliders, who celebrated in secret the rites of the detestable 
heresies they had solemnly pledged themselves to abandon. To 
appease the Almighty Don Martin set out on the warpath 
against the heretics and laid his plans for n public Auto da Fe 
on the tragical model of the Mother Church in Seville. To- 
wards the end of May, 1524, a batch of edicts were promulgated 
in his name and duly published in the Cathedral Church of 

( 6 ) 

St. Ana in Las Palmas. The first was a general call for the 
extirpation of heresy and the confession of erroneous practices. 
The second was aimed specifically at Jews and Moors and 
gave an account of their religious and social manners and 
customs at great length. This document is exceedingly interest- 
ing as a record of the Jewish ceremonies and customs which had 
survived among the Marranos, and was, of course, very 
useful in enabling informers to detect the heretics. A third 
edict prohibited masters, owners and captains of ships, visiting 
aoid leaving the Canariote ports, from taking on board or 
giving passage abroad to "converts or New Christians, con- 
verted to our Holy Catholic Faith from Judaism " under pain 
of excommunication and confiscation of their ships and other 
property. The other edicts are not of specific Jewish interest. 
The effect! of this appeal to the religious maniacs was ^oo 1 ! 
made apparent by the large number of denunciations which 
poured into the Holy Office between 1524 and 1526. On these 
denunciations formal prosecutions were founded, and eventually 
eight 1 of the accused were condemned to be "relaxed" or 
burnt alive, ten were "reconciled" and two were "penanced/" 
Eleven of these unhappy creatures were Jews or Jewesses, six 
figuring among the Kelaxados, four among the Ifcconciliados, 
and one among the Pcnitenciados. The Jewish Relaxados were 
AJvaro Gonfales, his wife Mencia Vaes, and his eldest son, 
Silvestre Goncales, Maistre Diego de Valera, Pedro Gonfales 
and Alonzo Yanez; the Ifcconciliados were Ana and Duarte 
Goncales, son and daughter of Alvaro, Hector Mendes and 
Hernan Rodrigues. The Pcnitenciado was Fernando Jaryam. 


Augustin Millares states in his "Historia de la Inqtmicion en 
las Islas Canarias " that all these people suffered their penalties 
on the same day February 24, 1526. This is an error. There 
were two solemn burnings, one on February 24 and the other 
a month later, while the non-capital sentences were executed at 
intervals between the major functions. In the nrst batch oi 
I!< !'ix ados were Alvaro Goncales and his son Siivestre, Alonzo 
Yanez and Pedro Goncales. Alvaro Goncales was the most 
important of the convicts. He had long been a marked man 
in I he Archipelago As far back as 1506 he had been denounced 
to the Inquisitors, and two further informations against him 
were filed in 1519. He was born at Castil Blanco, in Portugal, 
and was 70 years old when he was arrested. In his native 
Jewry lie had acted as Rabbi, or Chazan, and he appears to have 
been a person of some theological learning. In 1496, when, in 
celebration of Don Manuel's marriage with the Spanish Infanta 

( 7 ) 

Isabella, the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal was decreed, 
Goncales joined the Roman Catholic Church with all his 
family. The simulations of Marranism Avere, however, difficult 
for him. and he soon fovind himself compelled to fly the 
country. For tfhree years he lived at Gibraleo, and then 
migrated to San Miguel, in the Azores. Here he was arrested 
for sacrilege, but, together with other imprisoned New 
Christians, managed to break gaol and escape. He arrived in 
the Canaries in 1504, and settled in La Palma, where he carried 
"n a shoe-making business*, and acquired some vineyard pro- 
perty. According to the evidence given at his trial, he and 
his family lived ag orthodox Jews. He killed his meat in the 
Jewish fashion, observed the fasts and festivals, and kept open 
house for the other Marrano residents in La Palma on Friday 
evenings, when he inaugurated the Jewish Sabbath in orthodox 
fashion. He refused to allow his slaves to be baptised, and he 
did not scruple to speak his mind of Christianity. When one 
of his- "Old Christian" neighbours taunted him with being a. 
Jew, he replied that it was "better to be a good Jew than a 
bad Christian." After a trial lasting from October, 1524, until 
January, 1526, he was convicted of heresy and perjury, and 
sentenced to be handed over gagged to the civil power, and to 
confiscation of his property. Although throughout the trial 
he denied the charges alleged against him, he made no secret 
of his fidelity to Judaism when he was being led to the stake. 

The trial of his son Silvestre followed a similar course, with 
the exception that he was submitted to torture in order to 
extract from him a confession that would incriminate his 
father. This cruel device failed, and Silvestre also was 
"relaxed" as an impenitent heretic and perjurer. 

The third Gon^ales, who suffered death on February 24, was 
not a relative of the other two. Pedro or Solomon Gon^ales 
was the public executioner, and we are told that he was in 
rsceipt of a salary of 2,000 maravedis per annum from the 
Crown. He made no secret of the insincerity of his 
Christianity. A Jew of Castile, he had accompanied his father 
into exile in 1492, but he returned six years later and was 
baptised. In 1505 he settled in the Canaries, where he soon 
became known as a Judaiser. He had a taste for theological 
controversy, and he once expounded the Jewish view of the 
Crucifixion to a prebendary of the Cathedral with a good deal 
of learning and outspokenness. At hig trial he denied nothing 
except that his outward demeanour had been in any way 
contrary to the requirements of the Church. Asked whether 
since his conversion ha had entertained doubts concerning 
Christianity, he answered frankly: "Sometimes, in seeing 
Christians act contrary to the laws of their Church, I remember 

( 8 ) 

how faithfully the Jews kept the commandments of their 
Church, and I remember that a Jew is allowed but one wife 
and should know no other woman, while Christians have one, 
two or more, and that in other matters the Jews are more 
faithful to their teachings than the Christians to theirs. 
Moreover, the Jews are honest, while the Christian?, like the 
beasts of the field, prey upon one another." After this avowal, 
of course, his doom was sealed. 

The fourth Rclaxado on February 24 was Alonzo Yanez, a 
native of Villaviciosa, in Portugal and a farmer in Teneriffe. 
The documents relating to his case are scanty, and Millares in 
his li-*t excludes him from the Judaieers. It is true that in 
the first instance he was arrested only on a charge of heresy, 
but the sentence on him expressly states that he was found 
guilty of "professing and teaching the deadly creed of the 

In the second execution on March 24 the Rclarados were 
Mencia Vaes, the wife of Alvaro Goncales, and Maistre Diego 
de \ 7 alera. Like her husband, Mencia Vaee was a native of 
Caitil Blanco. Her life story was similar to his, and her trial 
pursued very much the same course. Diego de Valera was a 
friend of Alvaro Goncales. Although he had been long suspected 
of heresy, it wa<* not until he publicly showed his sympathy 
with Gonfales during the Auto da Fe on February 24 that he 
wa^ arrested and prosecuted. It was then discovered that he 
was a Lisbon Jew, who before th? expulsion of 1496 had been 
known ns Isaac Levi. On his baptism he received the name 
of Diego de Valera, and for a time was in the King's servic-3 
as a surgeon. He accompanied the expedition of Diogo 
d'Azumbuja to Morocco in 1507, and, after the annexation of 
Sa(fi, was given a post in the administration of that town. 
Why and when he settled in the Canaries we are not told. His 
trial lasted only a few days, the charges against him being that 
h? wac a regular frequenter of the Jewish conventicle held at 
Alvaro Goncales' s house, and that at the Auto dn Fe of 
February 24 he went up to Goiifales and congratulated him on 
dying a Jew. On March 21 he was found guilty of reverting 
to "the deadly creed" and duly sentenced. 

Of the four tteronriliados and one Penitenciado little need be 
aid. Indeed, in the cases of two of the Reconciliados, Hector 
Mendes and Hernan Rodrigues, all the documents are missing, 
and al! we know of them is that they were condemned to a 
public abjuration of Judaism with confiscation of property, 
and tlio attendant civil disqualifications. The other two, 
Duarte and Ana Goncalos, were children of Alvaro. Ana was 
the wife of an "Old Christian" named Pedro Hernandez, who 
had long been at feud with her father, and was largely 

f 9 ) 

responsible for his prosecution. She and her brother both con- 
fessed after their father's death and when a confession could 
no longer compromise him. The following paragraph in the 
record of Duarte's examination throws an ironic light on the 
methods of the Inquisition in extorting confessions : 

Asked why he had not confessed before he replies that he 
had always believed what his father had taught him until 
two days ago when lie was present at the Auto in which his 
father and his brother were burnt, and learnt then that 
the faith, of Jesus Christ is the trua faith, and that this 
witness has been in error. 

How enduring this lesson was is shown by another Auto da Fe 
to which I shall refer presently. 

Ths one Jewish Penitenciado Fernando Jaryam was a choleric 
Spanish notary whose habit of blasphemous language had long 
been the scandal and wonderment of the saintly people of Las 
Palmas. All was explained when one day in May, 1525, 
Sebastian Valera came forward and declared that while 
travelling in Morocco he had met a Jew named Jaryam who 
had told him that Fernando was his brother, and that both 
had been born as Jews at San Lucar de Barremeda. How he 
had brought himself within the clutches of the Inquisition, 
however, does not appear. 


Contented with .his tragical act of propitiation Ximenes 
retired from the post of Inquisitor in the following year and 
was succeeded by Luis de Padilla. The plague still raged in 
Canary, and the extirpation of heresy consequently remained 
necessary as an antidote to the scourge. Padilla followed 
zealously in Ximenes's footsteps, and held two more public 
Autos, one in 1530 and the other in 1534. In comparison with 
the great Auto of 1526, 'however, they were poor affairs. 
Victims were no longer easy to find. Marranism had been 
taught a terrible lesson. The leading Nuevos Christianas had 
disappeared, and those who remained took care to give no 
offence to the Holy Office. Denunciations of Jewish practices 
were still forthcoming but they were few and trivial. The 
sort of information with which Padilla had to deal is illus- 
trated by the following note of a deposition dated May, 1527: 
Aldonca de Vergas y Vargas smiled when she heard 
mention of Our Lady the Virgin Mary, which caused her 
to be suspected of being a Christiana, Nueva. 

Nevertheless Jewish Reconciliados were obtained for the 
second Auto, and there would have been one Kelaxado in person, 
a certain Juan de Tarifa, had he not cheated the stake by 

( 10 ) 

hanging himself in prison the night before. The Auto had to 
be content with his dead body. None of these cases present 
any features of special interest. In the third Auto were two 
Jewish relaxados who were burnt in effigy and one Reconnliado. 
The ttelaxados were Duarte Gon pales, the younger son of Alvaro 
Goncales, who, it will be remembered, was converted to 
Christianity by the edifying spectacle of his father and brother 
at the stake in the Auto of 1526, and hie uncle Duarte Perez. 
Both had managed to escape to Cape Verd, where they had 
rich relations. In the case of the recontiliado, Pedro Berruyo, 
no documents have been preserved. 

Ths ensuing hundred years were comparatively uneventful 
so far as the crypto-Jews were concerned. All traces of the 
permanent community had been uprooted by the great Auto, 
and although Jews never ceased in the islands, they were more 
or less birds of passage, who recognised that the old immunities 
were gone, and that the same vigilant prudence and dissimula- 
tion were required at Las Palmas or Santa Cruz as in Seville 
or Lisbon. The plague finally disappeared in 1532, and the 
islands resumed their normal easy-going life. For twenty-three 
years the Inquisition remained idle, and during the whole of that 
period not a single case of Judaism was reported to it. When, 
in 1557, it ventured on another Auto, it had only Mohammedans 
and Dutch Lutheran sailors to deal with, and even then the 
majority were condemned in coniumaciam. But even this proof 
of solicitude for the orthodoxy of the islands does not seem to 
have been relished by the inhabitants, for it was followed in 
1562 by a violent conflict between Padilla and the municipality. 
This state of affairs gave great dissatisfaction at Seville, and 
the " Suprema " ordered the reorganisation of the local In- 
quisition with larger powers. An independent inquisitor was 
appointed in the person of Diego Ortiz de Funez, who, with 
20 noble familiars, landed at Las Lsletos in 1568, and at once 
promulgated the Royal letters commanding obedience to him. 
In the following year a fifth Auto was held, and one Jew named 
Pedrianis, who had been denounced in 1524, was penanced with 
ten years in the galleys. There were also three non-Jewish 
Relaxados in effigy and a score of other Pemtenciados. 

With all Funez's energy, the supply of Judaisers remained 
exceedingly scanty. In 1570 he sent Bravo y Zayas on a tour of 
the Archipelago to hunt up heretics and collect denunciations, 
but the offences reported to him were for the most part 
ludicrously trivial, and although he transmitted six cases of 
suspected Marranism to Las Palmas, not one of them was found 
qualified for the. sixth Auto, which was held in 1574. At the 
seventh Auto, in 1676, one Jew, Juan Yanez, was relaxed in 
effigy, and at the eighth, in. 1561, a crypto-Jeweee, Catalina 

( 11 ) 

Nunez, was penanced, but here the list ends. In/ the remain- 
ing three public Autos, in 1587, 1591, and 1597, no Jews or 
Marraiio,s figured. Sixty years later there was a Jewish case, 
to whichi I shall refer presently, but technically it was not one 
of the ordinary public Autos, of which none were held after 1597. 


The revival of Marranism in the Canaries dates from the first 
quarter of the seventeenth century. The peace between England 
and Spain in 1604 gave a great impetus to the sugar and wine 
trades of the Archipelago, in which the Marranos of 
Lisbon, and the Jews of Bayonne, Nantes, Rouem, 
Bordeaux, Rochelle and Amsterdam were largely inter- 
ested. It became necessary for these Jewish merchants 
to pay occasional visits to the islands to look after 
their interests, and gradually some of them resettled in Teneriffe 
and La Palma. The immigration was vastly increased by the 
outburst against the New Christians in Portugal, and especially 
at Coimbra, where between 1612 a.nd 1630 no fewer than ten. 
great Auto da Fes were held. In 1631 the Inquisition took action 
against the immigrants, and a number of denunciations were 
collected during the ensuing six years. The investigation dis- 
closed the existence of quite a colony of rich Jewish merchants 
in La Laguna. Most of them -\vere refugees from Portugal who 
had narrowly escaped the clutches of the Inquisition, and whose 
relatives in many cases had perished at the stake in Lisbon 
and Coimbra. The depositions give detailed accounts of their 
family history. The most conspicuous of them was Fernan 
Pinto, who exported wine in his own ships to Holland, re- 
ceiving British manufactures in return. He eventually escaped 
to Amsterdam. It was probably this investigation and the 
persecution it threatened which drove Carvajal to emigrate to 
England, for we find the name of his brother Jorge Fernandez 
in the list of suspects for 1631, and in his petition for Deniza- 
tion in 1655 he states that he had then been resident in England 
"for 20 years and upwards." 

In 1641 a fresh immigration of Marranos arose out of the 
abortive Lisbon conspiracy of that year to re-establish the 
Spanish domination in Portugal, in which many rich and 
influential New Christians were involved. It will be re- 
membered that when Duarte Henriques Alvares gave evidence 
in the Robles case in London in 1656 he was asked how it was 
that his nephew being a Jew could venture to live in the 
Canaries, whereupon he replied that "the Portugalls who took 
part with the King of Spain were free -to live in his territories." 
This does not seem to have been true of Robles, but it was true 
of Alvares himself and of many others, for about this date we 

( 12 ) 

find numerous references in the Canariote documents to New 
Christians who were living in the islands "on licence " and 
consequently were free fi-om the attentions of the Inquisition 
so long as the spuriousness of their Christianity was not openly 
flaunted. The Inquisition, however, still tried to make itself 
disagreeable to the Marranos, but its action was limited 
partly by public opinion, which would not tolerate any serious 
interference with the flourishing trade then growing lip with 
England and Holland, and in which the Jews were an 
important element, and partly by a shrewd sense of its own 
material interests which, as it explained in 1654 in a petition 
to the King against restrictions on the wine trade, were bound 
up with the prosperity of the vineyards on the ground-rents of 
which its revenues largely depended. 

From this time forward the local Jewish interest of the 
Canari-ote documents becomes subordinate to their Anglo- 
Jewish interest. My hope that they would serve to throw 
some fresh light on the lives of the founders of our community 
and on the circumstances of the Resettlement in 1655-56 was 
not disappointed. Quite a number of members of the little 
congregation which worshipped in Creechurch Lane under the 
wardenship of Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, at the time of 
Menasseh ben Israel's visit to London, appear in these docu- 
ments together with much information concerning their social 
and political status. 

The first name we come across is that of Diego Rodrigues 
Aries, whose existence as a Loiidon Marrano was first revealed 
when he appeared as a witness in the Robles case in 1656. His 
name is entered on the prisons' register for 1653. It appears 
that Aries was a native of Marchena in Andalusia. After 
living for some years in Amsterdam he migrated to London in 
1651 and was known there as a Jew. TTe was a shipowner 
and he came to La Cruz in January, 1653, in one of his own 
ships to take in a cargo of wine. While in the port he was 
denounced by a coloured man who had served him in London. 
and he was arrested in the house of his brother-in-law, Gonpnle 
Ro<lrigues Vaez. He does not appear to have boen kept in 
prison very long, for in the following year he was back in 
London, and there is no record of any punishment having boen 
inflicted upon him. 

The next names are those of Duarte Henriques Alvares and 
his nephew Antonio Rodrigues Roblfs. Alvarez occupied a 
great deal of the attention of the Inquisitors owing to the high 
official position he had held in the Islands. A< WP know, he 
lia;l been, the local treasurer and Roblrs had been hi- deputy. He 
settled in the Canaries in 1641 and married a lady named de 
Rojas, apparently an "Old Christian," by whom he had two 

' 13 ) 

sons, Tomas and Diego de Rojas. Left a widower he fell in 
love with a Jewess named Leila Henriques, while on a visit 
to Amsterdam. Returning to the Canaries he realised as much 
of his property as he could and then fled to Holland where he 
was married in the synagogue. In 1653 he settled in London, 
and sent to the Canaries for his two sons. Owing to the reports 
which were received of his life in London, where he was a 
model of Jewish orthodoxy, the Inquisition solemnly sentenced 
him to be relaxed in effigy in 1658, and a special Auto da Fc 
was held for the purpose. In 1665 his eldest son Tomas got 
into the hands of some Jesuit priests in London, who at hie 
request sent him back to the Canaries. There he appeared 
before the commissioner of the Inquisition at Orotava and 
solemnly denounced his father as a Jew. 

Concerning Robles, whose life was set out in detail in his 
case before the Admiralty Commissioners in London in 1656, 
no fresh facts of any importance are given. The other London 
Jews 1 referred to in the various reports received by the Inqui- 
sition from London are Antonio Fernandes Carvajal, Domingo 
R/odrigues Francia and Jorge Francia, Domingo de la Cerda, 
Joseph Carre,ra y Coligo, Lourenco Rodrigues Liudo and 
Manuel Lindo. We also hear of two Jews in Dublin in 1662, 
Manuel Pereira and Jaques Faro. Some of these names are 
new to ui". The most interesting of them is Lourenco Rodri- 
gues Lindo. He was in London in 1653, but returning to the 
Canaries was arrested in 1656, together with his wife Perpetua 
and his wiiVs uncle and aumt, Goncalo and Lucina Rodrigues 
Vaes. Lucina Rodrigues was a sister of Diego Aries, and all 
were residents in Teneriffe. After his release from prison, 
Lourenco Lindo emigrated with his wife to London, where, 
as Isaac Lindo, he founded a family which has ever since been 
honourably connected with the Anglo-Jewish community, and 
which is the only founder family that has perpetuated itself 
in the community in the male line. Lourenco Lindo was a 
nephew of Carvajal, his mother and Dona Maria Carvajal 
being sisters. These ladies were of the Nunez family of La 
Guarda, one of the hotbeds of Lusitanian Marranism, who 
had been known for generations as ^tiff-necked Judaisere. In 
1650 one of Lourenco Lindo'* brothers, Antonio Rodrigues 
Lintlo, was a Reconciliado in the Lisbon Auto d<i Fe, ard about 
the same time his maternal uncle, Antonio Fernandez Nunez 
a brother-in-law of Carvajal was awaiting his trial in the 
Inquisition dungeons at Lima. 

With regard to the question of the date of the Resettlement 
of the Jews in this country which, with every deference to 
Dr. Gastey and Mr. Henriques, I hope is no longer a question 
the Canariote documents confirm the traditional view which 

( 14 ) 

fixes it at 1655-56 that is the period which covers the White- 
kail Conference and the Robles case. On this point I will 
content myself with quoting only two documents. The firM ir- 
a, deposition made before the Inquisitors in the City of Canary 
on March 10, 1660, by Friar Mathias Pinto, a definidor of the 
Order of St. Francis lor the province. He relates that dm mi; 
a sojourn in England in 1658 he had had occasion to visit Anton" 
Fernandas Carvajal in order to cash a letter of credit for 
1,000 ducats. The deposition proceeds : 

Having seen him frequently, he on several occasions told 
this deponent that he had been a Jew from the time that the 
Protector Cromwell had broken the peace with Sy>ain, and many 
times he was wont to take this deponent's hands in iiis 
and say : " Don Mathias, although I am a Jew, we shall all 
meet in Heaven." 

The other is dated September 4, 1665, and runs as follows: 
Letter from Don Francisco Porteros de la Vega to the 
Commissioner of the Inquisition at Garachico stating that 
because of information received, that since the year 1655, 
when disturbances arose between England and Spain, many Por- 
tuguese have left Spanish territory to establish themselves 
in England and follow the Jewish religion, it is advisable that 
the Catholics who have arrived at the islands in the ship 
which came there for Don Chris-toval de Aponte should be 
examined on the matter. 

What this contemporary testimony means is quite clear. It 
fixes the outbreak of the war with Spain, in 1655 that is to 
say, the spring of 1656 N.S., when the Kobles case was investi- 
gated as the date when the Jews in England were able to 
thiow off their mask and live openly as Jews. The facts that 
Carvajal himself says so, and that Jews had emigrated from 
Spain to England on the strength of it, seem to me conclusive. 
It will be noted that the author of the second document had 
apparently never heard of Charles II. in the matter, although, 
when he wrote, the alleged Carolian Charter to the Jews whicli 
has so beguiled Dr. Gaster was thirteen months o'd. 

Let me add to this rapid survey of these interesting docu- 
ments, which I give you only as a rough instalment of our 
programme for the coming session, that we shall also publish 
in connexion with them the lists of Jewish cases in the archives 
of the Lisbon Inquisition which were prepared for us some 
years ago by M. Cardozo de Bethencourt. The volume will thus, 
I ami sure, prove a valuable contribution to Jewish history, but 1 
am hoping that it will prove still more valuable as an incentive 
and guide to original research, for which there is an illimitable 
field in the Spanish and Portuguese! inquisition, and of which 
I am afraid this society has had much too little during the last 
ten yeans.